Sunday, January 10, 2016

Austin & Ally finale review

There's no way I can make it with out you....

What is it? Multi-cam kidcom, half-hour (24 minute) length, though it was really the last part of a two or three-parter or so. So yeah they cared about this a lot more than Jessie, although I guess I can't blame them, viewership numbers don't lie.
Where did it air? Disney Channel
Who stars in it? Ross Lynch, who was just basically one of a tween garage band group before this show that consequently exploded into stardom (the whole group, not just Ross) precisely because of this show and nothing else. But hey, like Rachel Crow he's from my hometown so some credit there I guess. Also Laura Marano, formerly of Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? (yes really) and the very short-lived Kelsey Grammar vehicle Back to You (on, what else, FOX). Also the little girl who Sarah Silverman sings the poop song to in that one show Sarah Silverman have (yeah there's a group of people determined to make sure she can never live that down, of whom I happen to be a part of). More-than-decent character actors (actually, better than what "character actor" normally connotates, really) Raini Rodriguez and Calum Worthy round out the billed cast.
Why did we review this? Because it's on Disney Channel, of course. Also, it happens to be the series finale of one of the biggest ratings pullers in the network's entire history.

So let me get this straight...does the last episode take place in 2019? 2029? Which part is the "present" then? Does that mean Austin & Ally actually takes place in 2007-2011? How does this effect the rest of the Disney Channel Live-Action Universe? Did Jessie to go Hollywood in 2011 then? Does Good Luck Charlie's "Futuredrama" take place in 2019? When does Shake it Up's "Future it Up?" take place in? Does that mean we're watching Maya and Riley grow up circa 2012*? Does this effect the rest of TGIF? Does Family Matters actually take place in the late 70s/early 80s? HOW DOES IT ALL WORK!?!?!

*On the other hand, if it results in some sort of great time frame reset it would eliminate the continuity nonsense from Meets Hurricane

But yeah, Austin & Ally is over now, sad face. We got a one-hour deal which was really a two-for-one deal, two thirty minute episodes back-to-back and presented as such (no awkward melding together like they did for a few of KC Undercover's episodes). And while both separate episodes, both managed to thematically compliment each other. Austin and Ally are going to go their inevitable ways, Dez is going to go in a third direction and Trish is presented with either staying behind and making sure everything runs smoothly in their absence or go in her own separate fourth direction. 

....aaaaaaaaaand because this is Disney Channel she chooses a third option, the classic "have your cake and eat it too because you so inspired the person who had to make you choose" option. 

To be honest with you I don't even remember what the B-plot was and it ended just 70 minutes ago. Everybody was upset with each other because their separate ways might force them to, well, separate. Then the reconciled during The Singer and the Jazz Player (based on the book The Jazz Player and the Singer). And then they had the marriage proposal, which of course was just a fake-out for the opening of the actual finale and for Disney Channel to use as promo bait.

So the series jumps ahead four years later, and we find out Austin and Ally just ended up losing track of each other, and when they get together it's incredibly awkward (especially since everybody, even Trish and Dez, assumed they had a nasty break-up) and they finally end up rekindling their romance on The Helen Show (just as the show itself points out, just like all the way back in the first episode "Singers and Songwriters") and forming a duet group, and then it jumps again TEN years and everyone has kids (Austin and Ally natch, along with Dez and Carrie and Trish and Chuck). And then they go back to the practice room and tap out the show's theme on the piano. Fin.

Not a lot actually happened plot-wise in either episode - both were pretty much focused on emotional closure, and I have to admit, it did a hell of a lot better than a certain companion show that ran about 14 episodes longer, ended three months earlier and had a main star with hair a lot redder.

Then again I still feel Disney Channel ended up treating this show better in the end, especialy when it came time to wind down to the finales. Austin & Ally went all-out, even with just a 30 minute finale; Jessie was, I have to collect a paycheck and fill out my contractual obligation but what I REALLY want to do is leave these losers, tour with my band and start a hair dye collection.

No, I'm not bitter at all.

Nor do I want to pathologically blame Debby for everything wrong with the network - but that's another post. In the meantime....

Final Grade: B+ for both of them. It did what it had to do. It brought emotional closure and gave the audience pretty much all the satisfaction that they'd be looking for regarding what's going to happen to these characters and how their lives will continue once we stop watching them, especially since oddly enough they had an even less-defined endgame than Jessie (they pretty much spoiled the whole "will Austin make it big?" story by having him make it big during the finale of the very first season, to the point where he's had comebacks in the meantime). It reunited the characters, or at least kept them all together, and gave a pretty good happy ending for everyone that wasn't a super-vague walking off of yeah, sure, she's going to be all right I guess, who cares, she's yesterday's news, watch Peyton List and Karan Brar on Bunk'd Fridays 9/8c!
Episode MVP: Raini Rodriguez no question for the first one (the series' penultimate episode). That episode was entirely dedicated to her character, and deservingly so for this performance. Laura Marano for the proper series finale. Ross Lynch is a fine singer and teen male idol, but quite frankly a lousy actor and I don't think you'll find much serious disagreement among those who aren't excessively infatuated with him (even in Teen Beach Movie, one of my most favorite DCOMs of all time...he was rather meh, and the rest of the cast had to help carry him). 


  1. Can't say I was ever a Austin and Ally fan. But whenever I did watch it, I found Raini Rodriguez to be a complete delight.

    Happy Trails, Austin and Ally. I give it four months before they won't even show re-runs anymore.

  2. Raini Rodriguez was a vastly under-appreciated actress on the show. She really should have a bigger career than what she has, hopefully she can springboard onto one.


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